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Old 12-20-2008, 08:38 AM   #1
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Default Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating

As promised yesterday afternoon, I have a series of pictures of an Eastern Black Swallowtail pupating. It really is an amazing process and is done so fast with awesome speed.
I'll make one more post with the finished "product" and how it changes color when it's about to eclose.
Hope you enjoy them!
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Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020286.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020357.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020360.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020363.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020368.jpg  

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Old 12-20-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
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here's the last few pictures.
This is definitely something that is great to do with kids and is fun to watch and learn!
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Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020538.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020566.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020592.jpg   Eastern Black Swallowtail Pupating-p1020688.jpg  
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:00 AM   #3
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Wow! How long does it take? Thanks for the awesome photos!
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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It takes between 5 - 10 minutes for them to pupate. Then, it takes 10 - 14 days for them to eclose.
We noticed that they generally pupated at night, and eclosed in the mornings.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #5
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howmany are there? do you have a colony of them?

Is that animal in the avatar a friend of yours?
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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When we did this in 2007, we had a total of 13 caterpillars. 11 made it all the way through the process and were released. Instead of planting the parsley, we kept it in little pots so that when we found caterpillars or eggs, we'd bring the entire plant inside and put it in a bin and covered it with mesh.

This past summer, we simply didn't have the time to devote to taking care of the caterpillars (cleaning the bin, keeping up with the parsley, etc.), so everything was kept outside. Only 3 made it. So, there's a huge difference between caring for the caterpillars indoors than letting nature take its course. I know some people frown on helping out with the process by protecting the caterpillars from the wasps that will lay eggs in the cats, but seeing the decline in the butterflies around here, we wanted to help out as much as we could.

My avatar is Cooper. He's a Siberian Husky and will be 9 months old on the 26th. We have another Husky, Summer, and she just turned 4 months old on the 9th. They are just amazing dogs -- a handful, but great dogs. Too smart though!! Summer just learned how to open the doors in the house, so we always have to be on guard! LOL!!
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
This past summer, we simply didn't have the time to devote to taking care of the caterpillars (cleaning the bin, keeping up with the parsley, etc.), so everything was kept outside. Only 3 made it. So, there's a huge difference between caring for the caterpillars indoors than letting nature take its course.
OK, I'm game. I'm pumped from your photos and the fact that only 3 made it when left to nature because of the parasitic wasps motivated me.

Please give me all the low down. Where to order the cats. How to set up a "cat" cage and every little last detail so I can do this properly.
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:51 PM   #8
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every little last detail so I can do this properly

And I can tell you she does mean every last detail! She is a detail person!

I don't know a thing about butterflies. I don't even think there are any here. Ill be watching for the instructions also.

Cooper reminded me of my Sylvie. I named her that because a friend found her wild in the woods north of Tuscaloosa and decided I should have her. She was a malamute. What a loyal friend. And she scared everybody! Never felt so safe!
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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I love your story about Sylvie, and it sounds like she found a perfect home. I hate that she was wandering in the woods though. Malamutes are great. I guess she scared everyone because of her size, and the way they can look intimidating? People are afraid of Cooper, which is funny, because he loves everyone and wants to meet everybody he sees. Northern breeds are special dogs.

Every little last detail? Yikes!! The pressure is certainly on!

Actually, it was quite easy, and you don't need a fancy setup. We didn't purchase any of the eggs -- they were laid by our locals. There are some great sites you can go to if you do want to purchase eggs, though. www.thebutterflysite.com is a good place, or just do a google search for butterfly larvae, and you'll find a lot of choices. The thing is, you need to have plenty of the host plant available for them when they get hungry, and so that when they mature, they'll lay more eggs for you.

The setup inside is quite simple. We got a clear bin that you can purchase at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. We didn't use the lid for it though. Instead, we used mesh fabric that you can find at Wal-Mart or a fabric store and is very inexpensive. To secure the mesh to the bin, we just used velcro -- attach the gluey side to the bin and then secure the mesh onto the velcro, and you're done. Or, you can always buy a "fancy" setup from one of the butterfly websites.

Once we found plants outside with eggs (butterflies will usually lay their eggs between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.) or teeny tiny cats on them, we'd take the entire plant inside and place it in the bin. Gotta make sure that the mesh covers tightly so that the cats won't run away when they get bigger, or so that nothing can get into the bins. If you're dealing with milkweed for the Monarchs and Queens, bringing in the whole plant really isn't an option. With that, simply buy some of that green styrafoam stuff they use for flower arrangements, get that soaking wet, cover with foil, and stick cuttings from the milkweed into that. When it starts wilting, simply bring in more cuttings, but make sure there are no bugs on it.

They are kinda messy with their frass, so you need to clean the bins and the potted plants daily. Also, you want to keep the potted plants growing, so be sure to water them. Also, mist the plants so that the cats can have plenty to drink.

You can touch the cats -- but not too much! If they feel in danger, they have a defense mechanism that emits a horrible smell. LOL!! My daughter got blasted with that a few times.

If, after they've made their chrysalis it falls from whatever they attached themselves to, you can reattach the chrysalis with a tiny bit of glue.

Once they've eclosed, let them dry their wings for a few hours before releasing them. You'll know when they are ready because they'll be flitting all over the bin. And, that's pretty much it.
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Old 12-20-2008, 04:03 PM   #10
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Host plant. You used parsley? Are other plants o.k. or are there specific types of plants for specific types of butterfly.

I think Ill try locals if there are any. We certainly need more around here.
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